April 25, 2014

Innovation & The Importance of Being Open, with Russ Schoen

For the 12th episode of "The Innovation Engine" podcast, we chose to focus on "The Importance of Being Open," with a nod to Oscar Wilde. Openness - whether it's to new ideas, new ways of doing things, or new partnerships - is a necessity for innovation to flourish in any organization.

Our guest for this episode on "The Importance of Being Open" is innovation thought leader Russ Schoen. Russ is the Chief Collaboration Officer at FourSight and a trailblazer in the fields of innovation, team building, creativity, and change leadership. He is also the President of Mindgarden Innovation, a consulting company that works with organizations to unlock their innovative potential.

Russ’s clientele is just as impressive as his global reach. He has worked with clients in North America, Kuwait, Singapore, South Africa, and Australia, among others, for a broad range of companies that includes Coca-Cola, Disney, Novartis, the New York Stock Exchange, Verizon, HBO, and Discover. Russ is an adjunct professor at the Center for Studies in Creativity, where he has been teaching graduate level courses in facilitating the creative process since 2007.

Among the highlights of this week's podcast:

  • Russ kicks things off with a cautionary tale about what can happen to companies that close themselves off to innovative new products or ideas. He puts Nokia forward as an example of a company that sealed its fate by not being open to the possibility that a touchscreen smartphone would come to dominate the world of mobile communications.
  • We talk about how establishing a "safe" culture, or one where there is no fear of failing or looking stupid, can set companies up to take smart risks to fuel innovation.
  • Russ goes on to discuss key tips and tools that can be used, like the PPCO method, to ensure that you and your teams remain open with one another.
  • We talk about the world of improv and tools from the improv world like "One Word Story" that can be used to build rapport between team members and get everyone on the same wavelength. We even go on to create our own "One Word Story" on the subject of technology, in which we tell a magnificent story about a beautiful picture of a cactus illuminating the night sky that may very well revolutionize the smartphone industry.

Want to hear more from Russ Schoen on "The Importance of Being Open?" Tune in to the podcast via the SoundCloud embed link below.

If you're interested in listening to previous episodes of the podast, you can subscribe to the The Innovation Engine on iTunes or tune in via the podcast’s home on Stitcher Radio to listen from any device supporting a mobile browser.